A dose of insight from Seth Sternberg…
Posted September 24, 2006on:
This week I’ve enjoyed glowing encouragement from users and mentors… But a refreshingly critical conversation Seth Sternberg of Meebo stands out as one of the more constructive chats I’ve had in a while. Here’s some background, but more importantly, I hope this blog may lead to even more tough input like Seth’s.. comment away!!!
About eight months ago, Seth left Stanford GSB to pursue Meebo full time. He was just a few months and a handful of credits shy of graduating. Many classmates (and some renowned prof’s) thought he was crazy. He quickly proved folks wrong. Soon Seth and team won over Sequoia, and in just a few months they’ve fostered the fastest growing and most passionate IM communities I’ve seen since Skype.
Seth and i have exchanged a few email threads over the past year, but mostly along the personal context of entrepreneurship while at the GSB. This week, I finally had the opportunity to show Seth what we’ve been working on.
Seth was fairly critical about the concept of social search, but agreed with our general idea behind “searching together”.. We dove into a mini-demo, and Seth dished out a healthy dose of critical advice:
- Vision simplicity: Seth patiently let me describe our search community… and then he laid into me… “that is way too complex – do you really expect an average person to get that?!”
- Feature simplicity: Seth questioned why certain stuff was on our pages.. “do you REALLY need that text there?” he quizzed… He gave example of at meebo they found that the ‘Send’ button on IM clients was used ~1% of the time (people just use ‘Enter’ on their keyboard), so they took it out. He referred to Google as another example: Despite their growing portfolio of major products, Google has shown relative restraint in not pushing their other properties by cluttering their SERP.. (though maybe still not enough restraint?)
- The Two shot chance: Seth commented that he felt every new web product has two shots at getting “blogger buzz”..after that, the product and community must to carry and spread itself.